Shooting range proposal in Mounds View draws concerns

A controversial proposal to put a shooting range within a few hundred yards of several schools is roiling the town of Mounds View, Minn., just a week after a high-profile school shooting in Parkland, Fla., reignited a national debate over the role of guns and gun control in American society.

The city has reached a preliminary development agreement for 4 acres of land it owns called Crossroad Pointe that has been vacant for the last several years. The developer, INH Properties, wants to build a 125 unit apartment complex, retail, and the Heartland Gun Club with an indoor shooting range.

But for residents like Bill Urbanski, who has lived in Mounds View for nearly 50 years, it's a project they're still not sold on.

"We're not opposed to gun clubs per se," he said. "We just don't like the location next to a residential area ... [especially since] we've got gun ranges within 15 minutes of town."

The project faces a big hurdle: a municipal ordinance banning operating a firearm within city limits. The city council will take up that issue on Monday night, with neighborhood residents already mobilizing opposition to voice their concerns.

Supporters claim customers at the gun club would bring business from surrounding suburbs to Moundsview, but some neighbors worry adding a shooting range within a few hundred yards of a special education school, a middle school, and a senior citizens complex would decrease property values and change the personality of neighborhood.

"It makes our city more dangerous," neighbor Kenneth Glidden said. "It doesn't make it safer. it just doesn't add anything to the city except a few dollars."

At the same time, Urbanski says he's a gun owner himself, though he believes trying to stop a gun club from coming to his community is worth a shot.

"Our slogan is "Moundsview, together we can do better," he said. "We don't need the gun club. There are other things we could put in here that would benefit the residents of the apartments and neighborhood better."